If you’ve been to Dublin and you visited the Guinness Storehouse, you’re not alone: the attraction was the most visited attraction by international visitors in 2015, with 1.4 million guests passing through its doors during the year. Not surprisingly, that also makes Guinness Storehouse the most popular place in Ireland to check-in on Facebook. It’s not a particularly new thing to enjoy Guinness on a visit to Ireland; an 1837 visit by future British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli during which he dined on stout and oysters was recorded in his journal as “the most remarkable day hitherto of my life.”
The year of Disraeli’s visit inspired the name for the new restaurant at Guinness Storehouse: 1837 Bar & Brasserie, where guests can enjoy a rotating menu of seasonal dishes that both pair well with Guinness and often include it as an ingredient. Thirteen year Guinness veteran Chef Justin O’Connor has worked to create dishes that pair with each varietal of Guinness, such as a higher alcohol content variety which imparts more sweetness into a beef and Guinness Stew, or braised and roasted meats which pair well with Foreign Export Stout, which is bottled and carbonated with a higher sugar content originally designed as a preservative during transport. Iconic Guinness Draught, he says, pairs better with sweet such as chocolates, caramel, and ice cream, flavors which mirror that of the velvety smooth draft itself, which is why Chef pairs it with a chocolate mousse.
Guests can enjoy Guinness Original with Oysters in the same way Disraeli did many years ago, with the oysters serving as fifth taste sense to round out the palate (Guinness is sweet, sour, savory, and bitter; oysters provide salt). After the oyster the Guinness works to serve as a palate cleanser. The strong roasting flavors in Foreign Extra blend well with spicy dishes, while the sweet toffee and caramel flavors of the West Indies label work well with sharp tasting foods (Chef pairs this with a baby gem and blue cheese salad). The West Indies label, along with the Dubliner Stout (paired with barbecue chicken skewers) are recipes which were resurrected from the company archives to create a suite of beers called the Brewer’s Project.
Although Guinness has been brewed for over 250 years at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse itself was built in 1904, where guests today can enjoy pints at the new 1837 Bar & Brasserie in addition to another restaurant and three bars, including Gravity Bar, which is the highest bar in Dublin. Guinness is certainly nearly synonymous with Ireland: almost 50 percent of the pints consumed each day in the country is Guinness, and the harp symbol long used for marketing Guinness was only recently adapted as an official symbol by the Irish Government.
If you’re unable to visit Dublin to sample Chef O’Connor’s creations, check out the video where he prepares Beef and Guinness Stew, or try the following he’s shared with examiner.com:
Barbecue Salmon Steaks with Guinness
4 x 8 oz salmon steaks or fillets
50 ml Guinness (U.S. 1/4 Cup)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tsp finely chopped red chile
1 tsp chopped coriander
Salt & Pepper to taste
French Bean Salad
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Blanched French (Green) Beans
Olive Oil to Coat
Salt & Pepper
Place the salmon in a bowl and add all ingredients and mix. Leave to marinate 3-4 hours or overnight, turning in the marinade several times. Preheat the barbecue and grill salmon 3-4 minutes on each side. For the French bean salad, blanch the beans in salted water and cool, sweat (cook over low heat until just barely translucent) the shallots off with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toss the french beans, mustard and olive oil in a bowl, place on a plate and serve with the warm grilled salmon steak on top.